Stress. A familiar term we hear a lot. Most of us know that stress makes things that bit harder to handle and continued stress weakens the mind and body and wears down our ability to thrive. Sometimes, we often find ourselves just focusing on surviving, not enjoying certain aspects of life much at all.
How often do you hear people say how stressed they are? Some people even boast about it as if to suggest that their continuous stress shows they’re achieving. In fact, whether high or low, constant stress is actually more damaging in the long run than irregular episodes of high stress. This is because the body and mind need time to recover and, without the break, our defences slip. Reducing stress levels overall and finding some down time between the crazy moments, means we can operate at higher performance levels and actually enjoy life as we do so.
You’ve no doubt come across a vast array of ideas of how to lower stress and relax. But before you scamper off down the road of inner peace by signing up for yoga or dousing yourself in lavender oil, there’s a more effective place to start.
Change is what’s key here. Change your routine, change your attitude, change your relationships, change your perception! The fastest way to do this is to get inside your own mind and have a poke around to discover what needs spring cleaning. If you haven’t guessed yet, the starting point is you.
Ease yourself into enlightenment by taking advantage of the various self-knowledge techniques out there. Whether you’re the journaling type or you’re up for a spot of meditative cave-dwelling, take some time to find your Achilles’ heel. What regularly knocks you off balance? Who keeps pulling that rug out from under you? Which of your issues are causing you issues?
Once you’ve identified the big stressors you can focus on getting on with adapting things. For many, this is the toughest part. Sometimes it’s easy to see where the stress is coming from but hard to deal with the fear of changing it.
You have to want to alter your current state of being to have any hope of successfully changing. This means looking past the secondary gains you get from being stressed and focusing on the greater reward of a healthy life. Despite noticing a greener pasture on the other side of the fence, many people will remain in their own parched, yellowing yard because it feels familiar and safe. These short-term gains help you stay stuck in the same behavioural patterns. Your mind and body are naturally renewing, let them get on with it by making the right choices – the ones that make you happy!
Let’s get real and talk workplace stress. Some of us love our jobs and feel little stress when working at them usually because we are doing something we love. Others don’t feel this way. This can throw up a long list of negative experiences that cause people to struggle in the workplace, as well as collectively having a damaging effect on the wider working environment. Some companies care and put measures in place to reduce employee stress and improve the happiness of their workforce.
For example, CRITICAL Software recognises that its talented employees are people and are worth looking after. By supporting innovative performance management techniques to encourage satisfying career progression and offering advanced learning opportunities, the company illustrates its commitment to its values of caring and ethical operation. This is important – being a successful company isn’t just about getting to the top - caring about how you get to the top also counts. As well as offering flex-time to allow staff to more easily manage their day, other benefits include chill out zones, gym memberships, health plans, plus regular company events and team building opportunities. These things help to create a more relaxed, happier and united working environment, raising staff morale and helping people to be happy and productive.
Whether or not you work for a company that focuses on employee wellbeing, the responsibility lies with you to shape your situation how you’d like it to be. Why? Because you’re in charge of you and what your life looks like.
Choosing to work for an organisation that cares for its employees, with a thriving and positive culture, is an obvious step in changing the stress caused by your career. You can stop those sour lemons coming your way if you alter your situation. Instead of complaining, start today. Grab those lemon pips and plant some trees. Turn the negatives into positives, or just move on. At the end of the day, the question is this – are you happy with your lot or do you want something different?
Here’s a sweet thought: if you accept responsibility for your results, you can change them! Things don’t get much more empowering than that. It’s not your mother’s, brother’s, dentist’s or your cat’s responsibility to make you happy. If you’ve chosen what you are experiencing, the people you’re around and the way your life looks, then you can shape it the way you want. Change your behaviour and your results will change.
Trust me, that was sweet, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first!
Time for a career change? Discover more about how our award-winning working environment and what it’s like working for CRITICAL Software.